Last Monday I had to rush out the door when Husband came home. Not, alas to go out on the razzle or to meet my secret lover, but to go to Marking Meeting for the creative writing course I’m teaching. This is where a group of us sit in a room with a pile of writings and try to come to an agreement about what kind of mark to award them, so we’re all on the same page. Yes it does doesn’t it?
Before I ventured into the cold, stinky night The Girl asked me if I was coming back and she would miss me. So thinking I was being creative and clever, I gave her one of my most precious possessions, not a book I’m afraid, or a bracelet but my sunglasses. The ones that cost a packet and miraculously I’ve neither sat on, nor lost. “You take them” I informed my solemn daughter “and then you’ll know that mummy is coming back.” It worked. She took the sunglasses in their case and promised to take care of them. Off I went, belted across London, and sat in a room with other people and tried to think of nice things to say about the students work. One lecturer was very scary indeed as we dissected a very bad piece of work.
“It just doesn’t have any function” she drawled. Function? What the fuck was she on about? But being a Lecturer it doesn’t do to say that, so instead I just furrowed my brow and wrote: ‘what the fuck is she on about?’ while a man with long hair tied in a ponytail added that this piece of work “defined chick-lit at its most banal”. That particular man was a poet. I could tell because he looked like Jesus. And he said he was. A poet that is. I wondered how many people make a living from poetry and could only come up with . . .that Poet Laureate . .Andrew Thing? Maybe Benjamin Zephaniah? Pam Ayres?
Got home an hour or so later, chatted to Husband for a few minutes, and then like a small ghost, The Girl drifted down the stairs holding tight to the sunglasses case. “Here you are mummy – I kept it safe for oo”. Oh my heart! I just folded up, held her tight and carried her up the stairs. She’d kept my sunglasses safe. Oh I love you! Tuck you up and kiss you goodnight. Hang on . . . you gave me the case. But where are the actual sunglasses. My expensive sunglasses?
“I don’t know mummy,” says The Girl with a Gallic shrug.
Three days later, I’m the proud possessor of a plastic sunglasses case and no fucking sunglasses! I’ve turned her room upside down! Bollocks! That’s the last time I’m entrusting ANYTHING TO A FOUR YEAR OLD.